On the hunt for the best running trainers but don't want to buy from a brand that causes plastic pollution every year? Enter stage right, the brand-new Allbirds Tree Flyers.
This week, the B-Corp brand has launched what they're calling their highest performance shoe yet - and I was lucky to be one of the first to try them.
Allbirds Tree Flyer trainers: meet the lowest emission running trainer yet
Speaking at the launch of the shoe at their store in Covent Garden, Romesh Patel, Director of Material Innovation at Allbirds, explained that creating with the planet in mind and being innovative in their design technique is at the forefront of what they do.
Some need-to-knows on the sustainability front: as above, the brand is a B-Corp, meaning they have been independently verified by a board of eco-specialists (in other words, they're not greenwashing). For the shoe itself, the sole is made from their newly-designed "Swift Foam" technology, comprising largely of castor beans, a natural and renewable resource. The only waste created during the creation of the sole is then used to create the heel tab.
A fun fact about the brand: each of their products is stamped with its carbon footprint, making living sustainably that bit easier. For this shoe, it's 9.92kg of CO2e - around 20% less than your normal shoe (the average running shoe has a carbon footprint of 13.6kg of CO2e).
According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, a single pair of running shoes creates 30 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions in the manufacturing process. To paint it visually, if the trainer industry were a country, it'd be the 17th largest global polluter every year, shares research director Danny McLoughlin via OutsideOnline.
Patel adds: "The Tree Flyer was born from our team asking ourselves “How can we make a high performance shoe that runners - both seasoned pros and beginners - would love running in, but one that leveraged natural material innovation?”. In other words, how do we break the status quo when it comes to performance running shoes, which often rely on fossil fuel based raw materials and wasteful manufacturing processes?"
"Our hero material innovation in the Tree Flyer resulted in a lightweight shoe with a high rebound rate, a crisp design, and a unique texture, all while lowering the overall carbon footprint."
Another great sustainable activewear brand to have on your radar? Check.
How are the new Allbirds Tree Flyer trainers to run in?
So how do they feel to run in? Light, springy, and propulsive, the brand share that the shoe offers 70% more rebound than previous models and when I tested them, I could tell. Look-wise, they're similar in style to the adidas Ultraboost trainers, but more angular.
The Allbirds Tree Flyer follows the brand's Dasher 2 shoe, which launched in 2021. They've been tested by more than 115 runners across 6,000+ miles and are designed to support you through longer distances (they even got a professional runner, Tina Muir, to test the design at this year's Boston Marathon).
Bottom line? I'm a fan. If you have slightly sensitive feet like me, they'll take some breaking in, but don't be deterred. The trainers are functional but stylish enough to wear to the office, and it feels great knowing you've bought from a brand-building a better tomorrow, too.
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Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Senior Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, nine-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She's won a BSME for her sustainability work, regularly hosts panels and presents for events like the Sustainability Awards, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.
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